It is confusing to me that what what the goal of zazen is (and is not), as proposed by various people with more or less authority on the subject, varies so greatly. Some say no goal, and others identify various goals.
Rationally speaking, no goal makes sense. It is a form of non-dualism. If there is a goal, then there is an attachment to becoming something which one is not. But no goal is also nonsense. If there is no goal, then there is no goal to end suffering. The Four Noble Truths become descriptive, and the Eightfold Path is unimportant.
This is as far as my thinking has gotten. I conclude with some verifiable examples of what the goal of zazen is said to be.
remove wrong perceptions
the practice of meditation, the practice of looking deeply, has the purpose of removing wrong perceptions from us
—“What is Nirvana and How Does It End Suffering?” by Thích Nhất Hạnh at MeditationPlex
Zazen deliberately tries to remove all entertainment and distractions from our minds so we can see ourselves as we really are
—The Laughing Teabowl Sangha
there is no goal
There is no starting point nor goal, nothing to attain
–Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
the only way to grasp enlightenment is through a calm and settled mind
engage with reality (not to make your life better)
The real practice of Zen is to engage directly with reality, not to use it as a method to improve your health or make your life better
—“Zazen Posture” by Josho Pat Phelan at Chapel Hill Zen Center
not to learn
Don’t think of practice in terms of “eventually”
—“Zazen is not step-by-step learning meditation” by Harada Sekkei Roshi at Buddhism Now
the purpose of zazen is compassion
—“Beyond Thinking: Dogen’s Teachings on Zazen” by Norman Fischer at Upaya Zen Center